Adelaide’s oldest cemetery is releasing a limited-edition olive oil to honour the memory of South Australian philanthropist and first Colonial Treasurer, Osmond Gilles.

Steeped in history, West Terrace Cemetery is home to a well-established olive grove. Olives are hand-picked, pressed into olive oil by Diana Olive Oil and sold exclusively at the Adelaide Central Markets by Jagger Fine Foods.

Adelaide Cemeteries will release a limited number of the commemorative 250ml bottles. The bottles feature a dedication to Gilles on the label.

The olive oil release coincides with the restoration of Gilles’ grave at West Terrace Cemetery, following six years of fundraising efforts by volunteers from the Burnside Historical Society. 

The Burnside Historical Society raised more than $25,000 for the restoration of Gilles’ grave following its chance discovery by Foundation Member, Ms Anne Both. Other members, Ross Both, Meredith Ide and Derek Bransbury supported Anne during the project.

Adelaide Cemeteries engaged a heritage architect to complete a heritage report, work closely with the Society and ensure the restoration met strict State Heritage requirements.

Gilles arrived in South Australia in 1836 with Governor Hindmarsh on the HMS Buffalo. He was South Australia’s first Colonial Treasurer, a successful businessman and generous philanthropist and loaned his own personal funds to save the colony from bankruptcy.

Many local landmarks now bear his name including the suburb of Glen Osmond, Gilles St, Gilles Plains and O.G. Road.

“Osmond Gilles helped to lead a significant chapter in South Australian history,” Adelaide Cemeteries CEO Mr Robert Pitt said. 

“His burial site is a wonderful example of Victorian era grave monumentation and Adelaide Cemeteries has welcomed the opportunity to support its restoration for future generations.

“Our limited-edition olive oil is a unique product with a strong following and sells out quickly each year. We are pleased to commemorate Gilles in this year’s vintage.

“West Terrace Cemetery has played an integral role in the fabric of South Australia since 1837. We are home to more than 180 years of stories of remarkable and everyday South Australians and we look for ways to work with our community to preserve and share those memories.”

Burnside Historical Society Foundation Member Ms Anne Both said: “Osmond Gilles created a lasting legacy for South Australia and we want his generosity to be remembered.

“While many landmarks bear Gilles’ name there is no specific monument, apart from his grave, where the community can pay tribute to him. Gilles left no descendants and his grave was in urgent need of conservation.

“We have welcomed the support of Adelaide Cemeteries Authority as well as the groups and individuals who donated generously to our efforts.”

The restoration project has included a new foundation, restoration of the existing headstone and iron railing, and the addition of a bronze plaque. 

Contributions to the grave conservation works were made by the State Government of South Australia, the Burnside Historical Society, City of Holdfast Bay, Pioneers Association of SA, St Peter’s Anglican Church in Glenelg, Royal Geographical Society, Historical Society of SA, interested groups and individuals, and a SA Heritage Grant and the SA History Fund.